UCF’s defense jumped all over Tulane and embarrassed quarterback Glen Cuiellette en route to a 37-6 win in Orlando. UCF’s sometimes sputtering offense proved nearly irrelevant – even one of the touchdowns scored by the Knights’ secondary would have been enough to secure the win.
Things started slow for UCF. Freshman running back Adrian Killins fumbled on the first play from scrimmage, and Tulane running back Dontrell Hilliard capped the ensuing Green Wave drive with a fourteen yard touchdown run. It turned out that this would be the only points Tulane could score – even the extra point was blocked.
Freshman QB McKenzie Milton threw a pick on the next drive. The offense was fitful, though McKenzie Milton ran in a touchdown about midway through the second quarter. The half closed at a tight 7-6 Knights lead.
In the third quarter, the Knights took over. Safety Drico Johnson played his assignment perfect, snatching Cuiellette’s pitch from the air and running it back thirty yards for the Knight’s first of three defensive touchdowns. Tulane never had a shot to recover. On the next drive, Cuiellette tossed an interception to Shaquill Griffin – who returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. And early in the fourth quarter, Johnson grabbed his own interception and took it 86 yards back to add the third defensive touchdown of the evening for the Knights.
UCF would add a Matthew Wright field goal, and Shaquill Griffin would tack on another pick, this time in UCF’s end zone. It was also nice to see senior quarterback and former starter Justin Holman in for a drive during garbage time. He got to showcase his big arm with a 50 yard pass to Hayden Jones and ran in a touchdown.
Adding to the fun was the fact that UCF ran fake pass plays three times. The first two, Milton handed the ball off behind his back to Adrian Killins for some nice runs. On the last, Holman also faked the behind the back hand off and kept it.
Oh: and the Knights looked awesome in all black uniforms.
For Tulane, Cuiellette would end an abysmal 5 of 21 for 68 yards, the three interceptions, and the lost fumble on the pitch Johnson grabbed. Goodness.
Tulane remains winless in away games at UCF. The Green Wave continue to demonstrate that they are among the dregs of the AAC; with their next two games against Houston and Tulane, the Green Wave’s season finale against East division bottom dweller UConn is their only reasonable opportunity to get a conference win this year.
With the win, UCF looks very likely to get bowl eligible, a tremendous relief after last year’s winless slog. The Knights need only one more win, and UCF will be rightly favored against Cincinnati next week (and other chances will come - Tulsa is probably a toss-up, though the season finale against USF a likely loss).